Ancient Monuments

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Cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Wiston, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8935 / 50°53'36"N

Longitude: -0.3772 / 0°22'38"W

OS Eastings: 514224.461924

OS Northings: 111701.227435

OS Grid: TQ142117

Mapcode National: GBR HLJ.TPC

Mapcode Global: FRA B63R.0VP

Entry Name: Cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort

Scheduled Date: 1 May 1951

Last Amended: 18 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015121

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27098

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Wiston

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Wiston with Buncton

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes a cross dyke and a platform barrow situated on a chalk
ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The roughly west-east aligned,
crescentic cross dyke runs across the ridge for c.110m and has a ditch c.5m
wide and up to c.0.8m deep. The ditch is flanked to the south by a c.5m wide
bank which survives to a height of up to 0.8m. Records suggest that the
eastern portion of the bank and the western end of the earthworks have been
levelled by modern ploughing, and the cross dyke will survive here in buried
form. The eastern end of the cross dyke is formed by a shallow, rounded
The platform barrow lies c.14m to the east of the eastern cross dyke terminal
and has a circular, flat-topped platform c.11m in diameter and c.0.4m high,
surrounded by a shallow ditch c.2m wide and up to 0.3m deep. The eastern side
of the ditch has become partly infilled over the years, but will survive here
as a buried feature.
The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Platform barrows, funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC),
are the rarest of the recognised types of round barrow, with fewer than 50
examples recorded nationally. They occur widely across southern England with a
marked concentration in East and West Sussex and can occur either in barrow
cemeteries (closely-spaced group of barrows) or singly. They were constructed
as low, flat-topped mounds of earth surrounded by a shallow ditch,
occasionally crossed by an entrance causeway. Due to their comparative visual
insignificance when compared to the larger types of round barrow, few were
explored by 19th century antiquarians. As a result, few platform barrows are
disturbed by excavation and, consequently, they remain a poorly understood
class of monument. Their importance lies in their potential for illustrating
the diversity of beliefs and burial practices in the Bronze Age and, due to
their extreme rarity and considerable fragility, all identified platform
barrows would normally be considered to be of national importance.
Despite some disturbance by modern ploughing and scrub growth, the cross dyke
and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort survive well
and will contain important archaeological remains and environmental evidence
relating to the ways in which they were constructed and used. The monument
forms part of a group of prehistoric, Roman and early medieval earthworks
situated on Chanctonbury Hill, including a hillfort, Romano-Celtic temple, two
cross dykes and a number of round barrows and hlaews or Saxon barrows which
are the subject of separate schedulings. The close association of these
monuments wll provide important evidence for the changing relationships
between ceremonial and burial practices and land division in this area of
downland over a period of c.1,500 years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Britannia' in Excavations a Chanctonbury Ring, Wiston, West Sussex, 1977, , Vol. 11, (1980), 173-231

Source: Historic England

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